New Year; new (to me) writer

Salvage by Michael Crummey

Salvage by Michael Crummey

It’s exciting to discover a new writer – that is, a writer new to one’s own literary awareness. Recently, I pulled Salvage, a 2002 book of poems by St. John’s writer Michael Crummey off a shelf at Greater Victoria Public Library, read a few lines, and was hooked.

I read for insights and the deft use of language. A good writer like Crummey offers both. His poems lope along comfortably, offering clear observations of our internal and external worlds, but often take a turn that makes the reader sit up and remark: now how did he do that? Where did that come from?

In the opening of the poem His Century, for example, Crummey sets a scene of a man awoken in the night by his shaking bed,

“…the lamp
rocking on the nightstand,
the house quivering
in the wake of a passing train.

There is no train.”

Such subtle skill. A scene. A pause. Then the turnaround: there is no train. Now the reader is paying attention.

Crummey has written a number of novels as well as poetry; his new novel Galore is earning admiring reviews.  Perhaps you “discovered” him before I did but if not – do look up his work. Enjoy.

Oh yes, and Happy New Year.

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